MARSEILLES — When breast cancer touched the family of Pam De Lucas, she and her daughter decided to take action.
Within a relatively short period of time, her grandmother, her sister and her cousin were each diagnosed with non-genetic forms of the disease.
In response, the Marseilles residents decided to participate in their first Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Chicago June 1 and 2, which will require them to walk 39 miles in two days and raise at least $1,800.
“Everybody knows somebody,” De Lucas said. “This is just a way to raise money and get some awareness out there.”
They’ll also hope to do that during a fundraiser they’re hosting at Montage Wine Bar in Morris Sunday, May 19.
De Lucas’ cousin — Barb Svornik of Morris, who was diagnosed with breast cancer — suggested the wine bar.
Ginger Hollenbeck, owner of Montage and a friend of Svornik, said the disease hit home for her when several of her friends were diagnosed.
“It affects so many women,” Hollenbeck said. “This is just a really important cause to support.”
The fundraiser, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, will feature wine and live acoustic music.
“It’s going to be a fun open house,” Hollenbeck said.
“We wanted to make sure it’s something where you can come and relax and have a good time, but still get the awareness out there.”
Attendees will make a $5 donation, but those wanting to donate more can do so. Ninety percent of proceeds go to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
The walk is part of a national series of 39-mile fundraising events. The Chicago walk, occurring June 1 and 2, goes from Soldier Field to Horner Park and back.
Along the way, participants will pass through or bynumerous historic Chicago sites, such as the Museum Campus, Buckingham Fountain and Lincoln Park.
Money raised by participants will go to local organizations and hospitals for research, treatment and prevention.
De Lucas and her daughter have used Facebook — and their phone book — to generate the $1,800 each they need to raise, getting donations from family and friends.
“I didn’t realize how hard it would be to raise that amount of money,” De Lucas said. “But every dollar helps.”
De Lucas said it’s an important cause because she has seen the wide-ranging effects the diagnosis can have.
“There’s more to it than the sickness,” she said. “It’s also about the stress and the mental aspect.”
And with such prevalence — more than 200,000 women are diagnosed each year — many families are touched by it.
“There’s just so many people out there who have been affected by it,” De Lucas said. “We just wanted to do something to get more people involved.”